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Acting like a child gets a bad rap, doesn’t it?

When anyone says we’re acting like a child, we adults take it as the supreme insult. The mere mention of childishness conjures tantrums, ruthlessly blunt commentary, and an inability to sit still.

I was watching a baby calf the other day. Lucky for me, I arrived the day after it was born. No bigger than a labrador retriever, it flitted among the bigger cows. I could almost hear it shouting, “WHY DO YOU DO NOTHING BUT EAT GRASS? THE WORLD IS REMARKABLE! COME PLAY WITH ME!”

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Poor baby calf. For several days, it frolicked and danced and raced around the pasture. Once in a while, it stopped to watch the other cows, heads down, perpetually chewing grass and ignoring the wide world. It only took a week for baby calf to start acting like its elders, its joy forgotten as it grew into the role the others demonstrated over and over and over again.

I don’t want to end up like that baby calf.

We are born without fear, aren’t we? Whenever I watch children, I marvel at their curiosity, their sense of wonder, and their willingness to throw themselves into their surroundings. They don’t care what’s appropriate. Instead, they embrace the moments they’re given and milk them for everything they can.

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My guideson Cooper gave me the opportunity to do just that. We visited a water park. I sat on the sidelines in the blistering heat, watching the children splash and romp in the water. Every adult looked like me: hot and miserable. The kids knew where relief was.

And just like that, I didn’t care that I was fully clothed. I raced into the water and chased Cooper all over the park. We screamed and laughed and splashed each other silly. My face hurt from smiling. I was blissfully cool and happy.

What’s Wrong With Acting Like a Child? from Andra Watkins on Vimeo.

Other children didn’t look at me like I was nuts. They went up to their parents and said, “Look at that lady. Why can’t you come in, too?”

And by the time we left, half the adults had waded into the water. Oh, they weren’t romping around, shrieking like a banshee. But they stopped caring whether they got wet and embraced a few minutes of childlike magic.

When was the last time you acted like a child (in a good way)?

Tell us about it in a comment today!

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